The PGA Tour World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana is about a month away, and last year’s champion, Matt Kuchar, is ready to defend his title.
The match play-style event will again take place at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain on Feb. 17-23. Last year, Kuchar defeated the previous champion Hunter Mahan.
“I’m still amazed at what Hunter Mahan did a couple years in a row now, having won I think 11 matches in a row is just a spectacular feat,” Kuchar said last week. “I look ahead to my defense and think that, golly, to try to go that deep in the field again would be an incredible feat. I’m certainly ready, my game is in good form and I’m looking forward to getting back to Dove Mountain and the Accenture Match Play.”
The course has sometimes been a challenge for top-golfers, sending top names out within the first few days, due to both the approach shots and the unique scoring that match play offers golfers.
Kuchar, who is currently eighth in the PGA World Rankings, feels the approach shots are really key.
“I think that driving, you got some pretty generous fairways, if you miss in the desert, it’s no good, but for the most part you got pretty generous fairways to hit at Dove Mountain. It’s the approach shots that are show critical. It’s all the slopes and undulation in the greens. I see some characteristics to what we would see at Augusta and that it’s important to really be in control, really be able to control your approach shots, whether it’s with shape or with spin, it’s kind of the key part around playing well at Dove Mountain.
“And then the putting, I think you just have to really be creative and really be able to see a lot of things that go along with speed. I think speed’s so critical, with so much slope, at figuring out the amount of break, but I think that getting the speed of the putts down, with that much break, is such a critical ingredient.”
Some golfers are still on the fence on whether or not they plan to attend. The names which are questionable for attendance are Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, and Phil Mickelson. The top 64 golfers, as of Feb. 10, are invited to come out and play. The bracket and tee times will be unveiled on Sunday, Feb. 16, after the conclusion of the Northern Trust Open on the PGA Tour.
On track to make their first Accenture Match Play Championship starts are Kevin Streelman (No. 36), Graham DeLaet (No. 37), Billy Horschel (No. 39), Jonas Blixt (No. 42), Jimmy Walker (No. 47), Harris English (No. 48), Joost Luiten (No. 50), Bernd Wiesberger (No. 55), Chris Kirk (No. 57), Brendon de Jonge (No. 59), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (No. 60), D.A. Points (No. 61), Hyung-sung Kim (No. 62) and Peter Uihlein (No. 63).